It’s not hard to see why trail running and ultramarathoning are gaining in popularity. Events are held in wild places, giving participants a chance to explore some of the most beautiful parts of the country. They offer a big challenge, and the camaraderie that comes along with these races are addictive. That might be why you see many of the same faces at competitions around the country. But unlike urban marathons, where booking a downtown hotel room is easy, these races are often far from convenient lodging options. That means an RV is often the best way to go when traveling to a trail race or ultra.
Think about it: Chances are you’ll be pretty nervous in the days leading up to a race, which can impact your ability to sleep, feed yourself, and generally relax. While all of that is understandable, you can make things easier by making an RV your base camp. Staying at a nearby KOA means you’ll have convenient access to the race and a spot all to yourself for resting, preparing, and recovering afterward. Here are seven reasons why an RV is a great fit for your next trail race—as well as some suggestions for events to try in the future.
A good sleep pattern is critical for athletic performance. The more rested you are, the better you’ll do on race day While it can be hard to get top-quality rest the night before a race, being in a comfortable environment can help you feel relaxed and rejuvenated in the morning. In an RV, you can tune out the world and get the sleep you need.
Elite athletes know that proper nutrition is one of the most important things you can do for yourself leading up to a race. Your RV gives you the chance to cook your own food, prepare your race-day breakfast, and stay in as normal a routine as possible during the travel to the race and the jittery night before.
Staying in a tent or your car at a crowded race-side campground is convenient for many people, but if you have the option of staying at a nearby KOA in your RV or travel trailer, you should take it. You can stretch out and nap whenever you like. You have more room to change and stretch. Be social if you want, but when you need to focus, you can close the door.
One benefit of trail running is avoiding that pricey downtown hotel. An RV may be more expensive than traditional camping, but not by much. And when it comes to cooking your own food and staying close to the race site, an RV can certainly compete on price. If you have to drive to the race anyway, it helps that your vehicle can double up as your lodging.
Your RV is your home away from home. You know where everything is laid out, and you don’t have to rummage around in your trunk or hotel room–and you don’t have to get ready in a cramped tent. That alarm is going to go off before you know it; make your race morning as routine as possible.
Destination races can be the highlight of a race season, and they can also be really far away. Taking your RV is an easier way to travel than driving. After the race, you’ll be free to explore the area and even stay an extra day or two. Again, your vehicle is also your lodging, allowing for ultimate freedom of travel.
At a KOA, you’ll find on-site general stores, private grills, and outdoor seating areas. There’s often a pool or lounge area to relax in. Once your spot is reserved, you don’t have to worry about anything. KOA locations are optimized for RVs and trailers, taking away the stress of maneuvering in confined spaces or narrow roads.
Are you ready to race? Here are some suggestions for big events that are located near KOA campgrounds.
Closest KOA: Los Angeles /Pomona / Fairplex KOA
This race features three distances—60K, 50K, and 25K—and all have thousands of feet of elevation gain. This race through the San Gabriel Mountains is rugged, well supported, and shows a wild side of California not often seen.
Closest KOA: Placerville KOA
Barely half of the people who start this 50-mile race end up finishing. Challenge accepted. The route traces the path of gold panners and miners from the California gold rush, and you can bet they didn’t have a post-race meal at the finish line.
Closest KOA: Townsend / Canyon Ferry Lake KOA Journey
The Elkhorn Mountains outside of Helena, Montana, offer a taste of the state’s most incredible backcountry. The climbs and descents in this race are continuous, and if the elevation gain doesn’t take your breath away, the scenery will.
Closest KOA: St. Augustine Beach KOA Holiday
Looking to set a PR or run your first ultra? This Florida race is for you. The entire course is nontechnical, flat, and runner-friendly, plus you can hit the beach after for some much-needed R&R.
Closest KOA: Denver West / Central City KOA Holiday
You can find a trail run in Colorado almost every weekend during the late spring and summer months, but there aren’t many better than this race at the end of May. The 50K and 12-mile courses take runners on singletrack trails through aspen groves and thick pine forests, with incredible views of snow-capped peaks.
Written by Matcha for Kampgrounds of America.